Are you having trouble with a faulty heater? Below, we’ll explain the most common reasons why a heating system will ignite (or attempt to ignite) then shut off.
1. The system is overheating.
Many heaters are equipped with a safety feature that will automatically shut off the system if the equipment becomes too hot. Overheating typically results from a lack of airflow through the system. Make sure your heater has a clean air filter, that the filter is facing the right direction, and that nothing is blocking the return vent.
2. Your heater tripped the circuit breaker.
If you own a furnace with an electronic ignition system, it might have tripped a circuit breaker during a momentary power surge. Check your home’s circuit breaker panel for a switch that has flipped into the “off” position, and switch it back on.
3. The flame sensor is shutting your furnace off prematurely.
Newer furnaces have a safety device called a flame sensor. Older furnaces have a similar device called a thermocouple. Essentially, if these devices detect that the gas in your furnace hasn’t ignited fast enough, they’ll stop the gas supply to your furnace before the gas has time to build up.
Delayed ignition in a furnace usually is caused by an improper mixture of natural gas and oxygen. An HVAC technician will need to adjust the proportion of these gases for you. It’s also possible that the flame sensor itself is faulty, in which case you’ll need a technician to replace it.
4. Your heater is “too big” for your home.
If you own an oversized heater, it’s going to warm parts of your home too quickly and then shut off. This is called “short cycling”—running for short, frequent cycles.
Short cycling is a problem for a few reasons:
- It doesn’t allow your home to warm up evenly, leading to hot and cold spots.
- The constant starting up of the system requires a lot of energy, which increases your heating costs.
- The frequent cycles put extra wear and tear on your heating equipment.
Unfortunately, the best long-term solution is to replace your heater with one that is appropriately sized for your home. On the bright side, you can use this as an opportunity to update to an energy-efficient system with an operating cost that’s a fraction of what you’re used to paying.
For reliable heating maintenance, repairs, and replacements, trust the Brea technicians at Econo Air: (714) 710-1070.